• Nicolette Stathopoulos

Dad's Paella, with my assistance of course


Dad's Paella

One of my favourite dishes of all time would have to be paella. It may not be as traditional as rabbit paella but dad and I make it the way our family loves it. I’m not going to lie, I don’t have as much input into making the paella as it may seem. This paella is mostly dads specialty, but I’m always there observing and trying to take over. Here’s dad’s paella recipe the way our family loves to have it, with chorizo and fresh seafood.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 chorizo, cut into slices

  • 1 kg prawns, shells removed

  • 250g calamari, cut into pieces

  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 1 red onion, diced

  • 1 brown onion, diced

  • 300ml white wine

  • 1kg rice, I like to use clever rice

  • 1 red and 1 green capsicum, diced

  • 8 vine ripened tomatoes, diced

  • 1.5L chicken stock, may need more or less until the rice is tender

  • 1tablespoon saffron, you can use less, but I love the colour and the flavour it gives

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 3 teaspoons paprika, a teaspoon of each hot, bitter and sweet. This can be found at specialty food stores. My favourite paprika is from the Essential Ingredient

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 4 lemons, quartered lengthways

  • ½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste


Method

To begin start with a seasoned paella pan. Our pan has been used a lot so its had its time to season. Dad likes to cook the paella over the bbq to give it an even heat. This recipe makes a lot of paella, we often cook it when we have about 10 people over for lunch or dinner.

To begin with, place the chicken stock, saffron and turmeric into a saucepan, and bring to a simmer, put aside until the paella is ready for the stock. Dad and I use store bought stock as it just adds so much flavour to the dish. You can use house made chicken stock but since so much effort goes into the actual making of the paella I like to slack off a bit and use store bought stock.

Secondly heat the pan over a medium heat with the olive oil and chorizo. The purpose for this is to render the fat out of the chorizo, to then use those delicious smokey flavours to cook the rest of the ingredients in. Once the chorizo is cooked and browned, remove it from the pan and add in the prawns and calamari.

Cook the prawns and calamari until almost cooked through, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Now that you have removed the seafood, place the onion, garlic and capsicum to the pan, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring every now and again.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir through, cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the rice, some of the saffron and paprika to the pan, stir through the vegetables and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the wine to the pan, and cook out the alcohol, approximately another 2 minutes.

Were now ready to add in the stock, start by adding about a quarter of the stock to the pan, and give it a little stir through. Now that some of the stock has been incorporated it is important that we no longer stir the paella. From now on NO MORE STIRRING! The best part of the paella is the delicious crunchy almost burnt crust along the bottom of the pan. If we stir the paella we will just end up with a risotto, and this is not what we want.

The next step is to start adding back in the chorizo and the seafood. Add back to the pan the chorizo, prawns and calamari.

You can now add in a little more stock, but remember do not stir.

The next step is to add in the mussels, you don’t want them to overcook, so once the rice seems like it doesn’t have much longer to go, start inserting the mussels into the rice.

Next up add a little more stock.

Its now time to drizzle over some peas, these not only give the paella a beautiful colour, but add little bursts of pea flavours to the paella.

Add the last of the stock, once all of the liquid has been absorbed try a little bit of the rice from the corner. If the rice still seems undercooked, add a little more water to the pan. At this stage also check for seasoning, if you’re worried about the stock making the paella too salty, you can use half stock half water. And add more salt and pepper at the end to season.

The next step is to garnish the paella. I like to use quartered lemons and loads of chopped parsley. And like all typical Greeks, I only use lemons and parsley from my grandma’s garden. It’s just so fresh you really can’t get any better quality than that.

Now its time to gather around and dig in! This dish always seems to bring the family together, which is why I love it so much. It’s a beautiful feasting dish for any occasion big or small.


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